Daylight Savings Time and Car Accidents: Yes, There’s an Increase
Of course, it’s not Daylight Saving Time itself that is the issue; it’s the disruption of sleep schedules from the semi-annual transition to or from it. Researchers have documented that the shift really does result in an increase in car crashes.
In this post, we will inform you about the research findings.
RESEARCH ON THE EFFECTS OF “SPRING FORWARD, FALL BACK”
University researchers from Stanford and Johns Hopkins examined whether “springing forward” by setting clocks ahead one hour to Daylight Saving Time (DST) leads to an uptick in car accidents.
The data came from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and covered a 21-year period. The researchers found that on the Monday after clocks were turned ahead one hour, there was an increase in fatal car accidents. The increase was not large, but it was significant.
The researchers also found an increase in the fall, on the Sunday when clocks are set back an hour.
Other research, from the University of Colorado and the University of British Columbia, came to similar findings. The Colorado study, for example, found a 17 percent increase in deaths related to traffic accidents on the Monday after the “spring forward” time change.
The Colorado study also found that the increase in accidents after the time change tends to occur for about one week – not only on the Monday after the spring change.
WHERE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME COMES FROM
Daylight Saving Time was originally supposed to be an energy saver. It started in German during the First World War for that purpose. A number of other countries, including the U.S. and Canada, followed.
In the U.S. and Canada, however, DST is not universally used. Most of Arizona has no DST, and the same is true of most of Saskatchewan.
Twice a year there the recurring debate comes around again. Does it make sense to still use DST?
Traffic accidents aren’t the only concern. In addition, sleep disruption from the transition to and from DST is also associated with increases in heart attacks, strokes and marital conflict. And given the increase in heating and cooling costs in the evening, researchers don’t think it really saves energy anymore either.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN HARMED
For many people, the semi-annual transition to DST may not be a big hassle. But for others, such as those impacted by car accidents, it is much more than that. If a fatigued driver slammed into you, causing serious harm, it makes sense to get knowledgeable legal counsel to protect your legal rights.